Apple has not long released their latest iteration of phones, and there is already talk of what’s next. On 6 January a leak of the 2019 Apple phone renderings was posted on Twitter. The source of the design is @OnLeaks, who have a decent track record when it comes to phone leaks. The image appears to show Apple’s next generation of the iPhone, being dubbed iPhone XI. Twitter hasn’t been too keen on the rendering since the phone appears to sport a square camera housing with three lenses, which looks somewhat crude and unstylish. However, that’s not what we’re focusing on, we’re interested in the ports.
Apple received criticism when it jumped from the 30 pin connector to the lightning connector, with many people thinking its time to move to the third party micro and mini USB cables. While the lightning port was undoubtedly better than the 30 pin, many people saw this as another example of Apple trying to make as much money as they could from their consumer base instead of making life smoother for them. There may be some truth to that, Apple is a business and they, of course, want to make money, and style is a huge selling point of the brand. Having everything styled in a certain way all adds to the image Apple wants to cultivate.
However, at the time they made the switch, there wasn’t an attractive alternative to Apple. Lightning is unidirectional, which was a major bonus. USB-C existed at this point, but it wasn’t widely adopted so Apple sought to make their own solution. Micro USB was still widely popular and didn’t sport the came benefits that lightning could offer, for example, it didn’t do HDMI very well, it couldn’t charge as quickly, it wasn’t reversible and it was more prone to damaging the phone as well as not being very well suited to being stood upright (for example in music docks.)
Now that USB-C has become the standard for most new devices, the pressure is back on Apple to switch in their new product lines. And Apple is complying with this when it comes to their Macbooks. The Macbooks since 2016 now have USB-C connectors.
But will Apple ever ditch the lightning port on their phones?
Reddit user Hahahahahaimsofunny said:
“They will likely go portless before changing the iPhone to USB-C”
Reddit user Muzzi26 said:
“I love the lightning port. It was so far ahead of its time when it came out. Way better than the 30 pin connector (I know it pissed off everyone when Apple changed) and it was and I’d way better than the crappy micro USB port that every android phone and accessory was using at the time. BUT, I think it’s time to go the USB-C route. One cable and I can charge anything with it. That’s the dream, well I mean until we go all wireless.”
Well according to the leaks of the next generation of phones, no, they will be sticking with the lightning port instead of transitioning to the USB-C. It’s important to note that Apple is still in the development stages with the phones, so it’s possible that they may change their mind and go with USB-C, but currently, it doesn’t look like they will.
Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with the lightning cable, its small, it looks good, its unidirectional and has a strong connection when in use. However, now we have so many different devices, smart watches, tablets, phones and laptops, people want simplicity. Having one cable for all of your devices would be ideal, and since USB-C is now pretty established and universal, it seems like the natural direction to go in.